updated 12:30 am EDT, Fri June 13, 2008
Dell outlines "Dell E" MID
Dell's foray into the mini-notebook market has been dubbed the new "Dell E" series, which will include two different screen configurations: the 8.9-inch model is designed to take on the Asus Eee 900, and the 12.1-inch "E Slim" may be a rival to the MacBook Air and Lenovo X300 (and its successors), according to Engadget. Defining a new product category called the "Mobile Internet Device" for 30 minutes of web experience (vs. 3 min on an Smartphone: "iPhone" pictured), Dell says the new Atom-based mini-notebook line is designed to bridge the content/usability gap between cell phones and full notebooks. The light-weight "mini-Inspiron" notebooks, first revealed earlier this month, tout "no moving parts" with flash-based drives, DDR2 RAM configs, 802.11g WiFi access (with WiMax expected sometime after October of this year), user-replaceable batteries, 'instant-on' functions for quick/convenient access, full-size keyboards, and a built-in low-res 0.3MP Web camera; they will be available with "limited configurability" and limited colors starting in August with a second version due in the second quarter of 2009.
The 8.9-inch E line, divided into three configs, is designed for what Dell says is "emerging markets" and children as well as "youth social networking/entertainment;" it features a 1024x600 WSVGA screen, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom "Diamondville" processor, and 3-5 color options. The MID will offer three USB ports, mic/headphone IO, VGA output and SD card input. It is only 2.2lbs, 0.82-inches thick, and includes a four-cell 35WHr battery for about five hours of battery life. Dell says the E classic, first expected to ship in August, will have both Linux and WinXP options, starting at $299. The "Classic" will offer 512MB RAM and 4GB flash HDD, while the Dell E Video-branded MID, for education, will include either 1GB RAM/8GB flash HDD or 1GB RAM/12GB HDD/Bluetooth on the E Video+.
In what looks to be an entry-level MacBook Air rival, the 12.1-inch "E Slim" is slated to feature a 1.3GHz or 1.6GHz Intel Silverthorne (SLT) processor along with 1.8-inch 8GB or 40GB flash drive. Expected in 2-3 color options, the MID is targeted to both youth social networking/entertainment and prosumer markets. Like its smaller sibling, the "E Slim" will offer similar specs with Linux/WinXP configs, but add Bluetooth functions and two battery configurations: a three-cell 26Whr (4.5 hours) or 6-cell 52-Whr (9 hours). The E Slim is expected to follow the E classic, with first shipments in the August/September timeframe and will be available in two configs: E Slim with 1.3GHz SLT/1GB RAM/40GB flash HDD or 1.6GHz SLT/2GB RAM/60GB flash HDD on the E Slim +.
Dell is expected to offer accessories, such as a USB TV dongle, carry case, second battery, an auto/air adapter, Bluetooth accessories, and external HDD or DVD drive options.
Dell notes that running WinXP/Office on either MID will experience sub-optimal performance and says "if a consumer needs the usual XP experience then they should look to its Vosotro or Latitude notebook lines, clearly sacrificing performance for the mobility.
With news of the slick Inspirons coming, the new line of notebooks brings Dell into a market that was christened by the MacBook Air and may help it gain marketshare on rival HP -- the Austin-based company current trails HP in overall notebook sales by a large margin.
Slides courtesy of Engadget